With Wes Craven Week in full swing, it’s time to jump in that time machine, go back to 1972, and take a look at the controversial ‘The Last House on the Left’. Welcome back to Wes Craven Week.
A man’s life is measured by many things. The promises he keeps, the people he touches, and the things he leaves behind will come to define him.
With the one-year date looming since filmmaker Wes Craven departed this earth,
It’s time to look at another classic in his entertainment arsenal.
1972’s The Last on the Left (#5)
Wes Craven’s ‘The Last House on the Left’-Courtesy of Lobster Enterprises and Sean S. Cunningham Films
To avoid fainting, keep repeating: “It’s only a movie, only a movie, only a movie…
After being raised in a strict Baptist household, Craven found himself having a lot of time to read in his youth. It was here where Craven sharpened his storytelling skills and sensibilities.
Then, in the late ’60s, Wes Craven found himself at a crossroads. After finding teaching to be spiritually unfulfilling, a profession Craven practiced at Westminister College, the future film-making legend needed a change.
This need eventually led to Craven pursuing film and befriending filmmaker/producer Sean s. Cunningham. Cunningham, who later created a little-seen film called Friday the 13th, was desperately needing a hit film. Imploring Craven as writer/director, who would be receiving creative control, Craven took the film world by storm with his debut feature.
More from 1428 Elm
- Shudder Original Terrified: Poltergeist or Dimensional Beings?
- Godzilla Minus One makes the King of the Monsters terrifying again
- A Creature Was Stirring scares up yuletide frights
- Unwrapping the Unhappy Holidays collection on Shudder
- Holiday Horror viewing guide: 20+ movies to stream this Christmas
Interestingly titled The Last House on the Left, Craven’s twisted tale intertwines many aspects of his youth. Family, repression, and spiritual expression are all present in the film.
Last House on the Left’s story is simple: two girls are kidnapped, rapped and tortured by a clan of maniacal misfits. Only, one of the girl’s parents have a loving bond with their child they’d kill to protect and are ready, willing, and able to prove it.
Much like Tobe Hooper’s timeless The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Last House on the Left is one of cinema’s most visceral experiences; A most exclusive cinematic club. It’s a film in a category all its own. It also helps David Hess gives one hell of a performance as lead villain Krug Stillo .
In addition, it’s Last House’s rawness that ultimately gave Craven a career in film. After debuting, the 1972 film began forcing some to call for Craven’s neck on a block.
And while direction isn’t Last House’s strong suit, the film’s raw nature and story truly cause The Last House on the Left to shine. Then again, Craven had to learn to be a director but was born to be a storyteller.
Featuring a strong performance by David Hess, The Last on the Left would go on to define Craven’s early career. That was, of course, until 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. The Last House on the Left is a film every aspiring filmmaker can learn from. It’s a damn classic, and for a damn good reason. But don’t forget, It’s only a movie…It’s only a movie…It’s only a movie.
Join 1428 tomorrow as I take a look at the fourth best film is the Craven canon. Any guesses? Keep looking at those hills and open those eyes. See you then.
Miss Craven? Love The Last House on the Left? Let the other Craven Cravers know what you think of the film in the comment section below.